Thursday, September 19, 2019

Will this be our fate?

Liquidity of the stock market

It was not too good a few days ago. It got so bad that the major Wall Street banks could not, or would not, handle the demand for loans called overnight repurchase agreements (repos). The Federal Reserve Bank of New York had to jump in and infuse $128 billion into the repo market, even though the four largest banks on Wall Street hold more than $5.45 trillion in deposits when only $53 billion was needed to cover the overnight loans.

Shades of The Great Recession?

Smoke in Indonesia is not good

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Providing a home for bees

Data security problems with .....

... independent radiologists, medical imaging centers or archiving services. There are a ton of X-rays, MRIs and CT scans that you can look at on the web even if you are not a computer genius. ProPublica thinks that you could look at the records of more than 5 million patients in the U.S. and millions more around the world as many medical data centers are unprotected by passwords or basic security precautions. In some cases, a snoop could use free software programs — or just a typical web browser — to view the images and private data.

ProPublica found that you could access 187 servers in the U.S.that are used in doctors’ offices, medical-imaging centers and mobile X-ray services. One study found that more than 13.7 million medical tests in the U.S. were available online, including more than 400,000 in which X-rays and other images could be downloaded.

Retail is dying

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

JPMorgan Chase traders accused of racketeering

Three traders at JPMorgan Chase, were indicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO. They are accused of rigging the gold, silver and other precious metals markets from approximately May 2008 to August 2016. One of the traders was a Managing Director at the bank and the head of its Global Precious Metals Desk.

Indicting JPMorgan Chase is not new. Here are just a few examples going back a few years:

In October 2012, JPMorgan Chase paid $1.2 billion to settle claims that it, along with other banks, conspired to set the price of credit and debit card interchange fees.

In September 2013, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $80 million in fines and $309 million in refunds to customers whom the Bank billed for credit monitoring services that the Bank never provided.

On November 15, 2013, JPMorgan Chase announced that it had agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle claims that it defrauded investors in mortgage-backed securities in the time period between 2005—2008.

On December 13, 2013, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay 79.9 million Euros to settle claims of the European Commission relating to illegal rigging of benchmark interest rates.

In July 2013, JPMorgan Chase paid $410 million to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to settle claims of bidding manipulation of California and Midwest electricity markets.

On November 19, 2013, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $13 billion to settle claims by the Department of Justice, the FDIC, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the States of California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York, and to consumers, relating to fraudulent practices with respect to mortgage-backed securities.

Is Israel spying on us?

Politico says it is. Apparently some "former senior officials" told Politico that we found cellphone surveillance devices near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington. But it seems as though nothing has been done or said to Israel about it. 

True or false?

Be careful in choosing sides

That's essentially Andrew Bacevich's warning. He recounts our support of Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war. He feels we're doing the same thing with the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia that is taking place in Yemen today. And, it does not serve our interests despite the fact that "a series of administrations have indulged the fantasy that the direct or indirect application of military power can somehow restore stability to the gulf." 

He thinks that neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia should be supported. While Iran  may well qualify as America’s “enemy,” Saudi Arabia is not a “friend.”

"Power confers choice, and the United States should exercise it. We can begin to do so by recognizing that Saudi Arabia’s folly need not be our problem."

Monday, September 16, 2019

Uterine Prolapse is a term I had never heard of

But it has become fairly common in eastern Ukraine, where the stress level is quite high and women carry heavy objects up many staircases. This is the result of the five-year conflict in eastern Ukraine between opposing Ukrainian government forces and separatists backed by Russia. What is Uterine Prolapse? It's when the uterus slips down the vagina, sometimes falling out entirely.

Living conditions in this area are pretty bad.  Corpses are stored without refrigeration. Forty residents share one shower and one toilet. Some live in a 25-square-feet room, a former broom closet. Infrastructure is damaged. The government is doing nothing. Water from the tap is green, smells like a river and sometimes carries algae and little fish.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

3 people have more money than 50% of the population

Bill Gates - $105.4 billion 
Jeff Bezos - $114.6 billion 
Warren Buffet - $83.4 billion 

That adds up to $303.4 billion. 

What do the bottom 160 million Americans have? $245 billion, or $58.4 billion less.